After Christian outcry, Nigerian state governor asks for repeal of abortion law he passed in secret
IMO, Nigeria, September 5, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The governor of the Nigerian state of Imo has apologized to Christians and asked lawmakers to repeal a controversial law he signed which legalizes abortion for nearly any reason.
The law, called the “Imo State Law of Nigeria Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) law No. 12” had been billed as a sweeping anti-violence law prohibiting all forms of violence – random violence, domestic violence, and traditional practices deemed harmful by the state – and ensuring justice for victims and their attackers.
But hidden within the law were provisions authorizing abortion-on-demand.
The law permits abortion in cases of sexual assault, rape, incest and where the continued pregnancy endangers the life or the physical, mental, psychological or emotional health of the mother; and states that “every woman…shall have the right to determine the processes concerning reproduction in her body.”
The law, reportedly passed in secret in May 2012, came to the attention of Christian leaders only last week and has resulted in widespread anger in the deeply Catholic region.
When a similar law was debated in 2010, Christians from all over Imo state stormed the House in protest on the day of the hearing, and state legislators ultimately dropped it. But the 2012 version was passed and signed in secret, with no public knowledge or debate. It only became public knowledge after Dr. Phillip Njemanze of the Catholic Medical Practitioners Association found out about it and brought it to the attention of state media.
Dr. Njemanze called the law “anti-God, dehumanizing, and totally unacceptable to the association.”
“The law is devastating,” Dr. Njemanze told the Nigerian Daily Post. “With its signing into law by Governor Okorocha, abortion has been legalized in the state and anybody, just anybody can now ask for abortion as a right in the state.”
In response to Christian outcry over the law, Governor Rochas Okorocha called the House for an emergency session Tuesday and asked them to repeal the sections of the law dealing with abortion. He claimed he had misinterpreted the bill’s language and asked Christian leaders to forgive him.
Okorocha said that when the bill was sent to him, he was urged to sign it to prevent violence against women, and because of “the love I have for children.”
But he said, “I have appealed to the House to reconsider that aspect of the law which has gone against Christian faith,” Okorocha said. “I care for children more than anyone else.”
Pro-life activist Obianuju Ekeocha criticized the bill’s language in an article for LifeSiteNews, and warned that the West’s lucrative abortion industry would likely jump at the chance to expand its reach into Nigeria.
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“A right to determine the process concerning reproduction in her body?” Ms. Ekeocha wrote. “A right to kill her own unborn child ‘where the continued pregnancy endangers her emotional health?’ Wow! These could have just been the talking point of any pro-abortion proponent in Europe or America.”
“[T]his must be music to the ears of the wealthy pro-abortion cartel hovering over Africa like vultures, waiting for the African leaders that will let them in to open up their violent business, the business of killing babies in the womb,” wrote Ms. Ekeocha. “Surely they have been lobbing and pushing and prodding our leaders, and now one Nigerian Governor has capitulated to their lie that in order to eliminate violence against women, one has to declare violence against babies in the womb.”
“How ironic that a Bill on Anti-Violence should be used to usher in the highest form of violence – violence against the unborn child,” added Ekeocha.